The Russian and German cuirassiers ceased to exist when the Imperial armies in both countries were disbanded; respectively in due to the revolution and in due to the Treaty of Versailles. It was not however formally withdrawn until October Cuirassiers were generally the senior branch of the mounted portion of an army, retaining their status as heavy cavalry—”big men on big horses”. Views Read Edit View history. Russian Army of the Seven Years War. Napoleonic French cuirasses were originally intended to be proof against three musket shots at close range; however, this was never achieved in practice.

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It also had some psychological effect for the wearer effectively making the cuirassier more willing to plunge into the thick of fighting and the enemy adding intimidationwhile it also added weight to a charge, especially in cavalry versus cavalry actions.

The last occasions when cuirassiers played a major tactical role as shock cavalry wearing traditional armour, were cujrassier the Franco-Prussian War of The German Cavalry from to The retention of cuirasses as part of their field uniform by the French Army in reflected the historic prestige of this branch of the cavalry, dating back through the Franco-Prussian War to the campaigns of Napoleon.

In other projects Wikimedia Commons. The Austrians had dispensed with heavy breastplates in [18] and formally abolished the cuirassiers as a branch of their cavalry in Four hundred carabinier cuirasses were imported from France while helmets and uniforms were manufactured in Wazirabad.


Commons category link is on Wikidata. The Sikh Army The French cuirassiers numbered 11 regiments at the outbreak of war but had not seen active service since the Battle of Waterloo. The French cuirassiers continued in existence after World War I, although without their traditional armour and reduced in numbers to only the six regiments that had been most cjirassier during the war.

The arms and shoulders were fully armoured with pauldronsrerebraceselbow couters and vambraces. The regulations eventually recognised this, and cuirasses were ciirassier only expected to be cuirzssier against one shot at long range.

Napoleonic Cuirassier

The Austrian cuirassiers were abolished in French 6th Cuirassier Cuirassied in In the later 17th century, the cuirassier lost his limb armour and cuirassisr employed only the cuirass breastplate and backplateand sometimes a helmet. The change from cavalry being reliant on firearms, to shock-capable close combat cavalry reliant mainly on the sword was often attributed to Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden in the s and s.

Cavalry 16th- and 17th-century warrior types 18th- and 19th-century warrior types Combat occupations French mercenaries Military units and formations of the Early Modern era Obsolete occupations Western plate armour. Views Read Edit View history. With the refinement of infantry firearms, especially the introduction of the powerful musketthe usefulness of the protection afforded cuiraseier full armour became greatly lessened.

Russian Army of the Seven Years War. Following some initial successes, this tactic proved to be extremely ineffective as infantry, with superior firearms and numbers could easily outgun the cuirassiers.


The first cuirassiers were similar in appearance to the fully armoured Late Medieval man-at-arms. Armoured gauntlets were often abandoned, particularly for the right hand, as they interfered with the loading of pistols. Body armour, restricted to a breast and backplate, fell in and out of use during the 18th century; for example British cavalry entered the War of the Spanish Succession without body armour, although they readopted it during the conflict. Napoleonic French cuirasses were originally intended to be proof against three musket shots at close range; however, this was never achieved in practice.


The adoption of the pistol as the primary weapon led to the development of the stately caracole tactic, where cuirassiers fired their pistols at the enemy, then retired to reload whilst their comrades advanced in turn to maintain the firing.

Cuirassiers achieved increased prominence during the Napoleonic Wars and were last fielded in the opening stages of World War I.

6th Cuirassier Regiment (France)

This page was last edited on 15 Aprilat The Army of Francis Joseph. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cuirassiers. The cuirassier lost his limb armour and entered the 18th century with just the breast and backplate. Though the armour could not protect against contemporary flintlock musket fire, it could deflect shots fired from long-range, stop ricochets and offer protection from all but very close range pistol fire. This form of protection was reduced in the latter half of the 17th century to the breastplate and the helmet, both of which eventually became largely decorative against projectiles but still retained their effectiveness against swords, lances, and bayonets.

Most heavy cavalry from c. The development of firearms, which reduced the effectiveness of expensive heavy armour, led to a considerable reduction of the size and complexity of the latter.